Student Learning

The University provides the opportunity for transformative student learning through outstanding teaching and research, enriched educational experiences, and rewarding campus life.

Learn as if you were to live forever.
Mahatma Gandhi

University Centre building at UBCO building and UBC researchers and students
The heart of The University of British Columbia lies in its people—students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community—and our outstanding learning environment is the outcome of our relationships with one another.

Learning takes place within the social and emotional context of each student’s life. Applying new research on education, UBC revolutionizes teaching practices in the classroom and expands learning opportunities outside of it: through community service learning, research and co-op experiences, internships and mentorships, international opportunities, and participation in a rewarding campus life.

Through rigorous study within and across disciplines, students acquire the knowledge, inquiry and communication skills, professional abilities, and understanding of other cultures that enhance their personal development and enable them to contribute and lead in a global society.

Transformative learning inspires students to flourish in their studies and stay connected with UBC as alumni. Together, faculty, staff, and students share the responsibility for bringing learning to life.

Goal Enhance the quality and impact of teaching for all students

Portfolio Action

Review and revise curricula and pedagogy to ensure that they are informed by leading edge research on how people learn

  • Actively engage in curricula renewal to provide an effective and efficient student learning environment, supporting Faculties with the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Continue to support students transitioning from Vantage College to programs at both campuses (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Support graduate student success by launching the Life Cycle Management project (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Support student Senators and faculties as they focus on changing curricula, policy and pedagogy to support student well-being (VPS)
  • Continued work on a variety of student priorities, including course syllabi, transfer credits, and student accommodation (VPS)

Simplify and streamline program requirements and course prerequisites whenever possible to enhance flexibility and self-directed learning

  • As part of the curriculum re-design process, Faculties review program requirements and course pre-requisites to ensure greatest flexibility to students while maintaining the integrity of academic programs (VPA, DVC)
  • The Aspire Learning and Teaching (ALT) Fund was launched this year to support curriculum change, innovative teaching practices and learning environment enhancement as envisioned in Aspire (Provost Okanagan). The applications submitted during the first cycle of the ALT fund have been reviewed and are pending approval. The second cycle of the funding program has been announced (Provost Okanagan)
  • Continue to enhance the operation of the Learning Management System (VPA)

Support the development and delivery of blended undergraduate courses through the Flexible Learning initiative


  • Implement blended transformation of high impact undergraduate courses (flipped classrooms, integration of open content). Ensure the availability of appropriate technology and physical infrastructure (VPA, VPF, Provost Okanagan)
  • The accredited co-op program in the Faculty of Management has been significantly revised and expanded to become an interfaculty co-op.  Applications will be accepted beginning in September 2016 and will be open to students in Management, Creative and Critical Studies, Health and Social Development and the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences (DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Continue to deliver Massively Open On-line Courses as an experiential tool and as a means to increase access (VPA)
  • Improve structural flexibility in degree/program design and provide feedback to flexible learning projects through the VPS Student Engagement in Flexible Learning Projects (VPS, VPA)

Improve feedback mechanisms on teaching and learning through peer reviews and teaching evaluations

  • Expand the number of academic units using evidence based peer review processes with support from the Centres  for Teaching, Learning (and Technology) (VPA, Provost Okanagan)
  •  Support for faculties through the Student Experience Evaluation and Research group on targeted projects (e.g. flexible learning, integrative learning)

Further align the University feedback metrics, rewards and recognition systems with student learning goals

  • Continue the Okanagan Provost Award for Teaching Excellence and Provost Award for Teaching Assistants and Tutors (DVC)
  • Encourage and facilitate nomination of faculty members for national and international teaching awards (VPA, DVC, VPRI)

Develop and implement benchmarks and key metrics related to the enhancement of teaching and learning, and as part of the periodic academic reviews

  • Implement revised guidelines for Conducting External Academic Reviews at UBC Vancouver and support faculties with the provision of appropriate metrics and data (VPA)
  • Provide data collected through integrated assessment program and consultation to faculties and units to assess progress and refine metrics on key aspects of student learnings and the overall student experience (VPS, VPA)

Develop a long-term shared and sustainable vision for the Okanagan campus

  • Ensure all Faculties (Okanagan) develop robust, financially sustainable academic plans in alignment with institutional vision and values (DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Continue implementation academic strategic planning priorities at the Okanagan campus (DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Create a flexible continuum of lifelong learning between credit and non-credit offerings at the Okanagan campus; review opportunities and develop a strategic path to operationalize, with a priority on summer use of campus (DVC)

Goal Strengthen efforts to promote student success

Portfolio Action

Implement a Student Experiences Framework

  • Lead consultation program and processes to support tuition, program, and administrative planning (VPS, AVPS)
  • Create an integrated assessment program for student experience to inform strategic and operational planning (VPS, AVPS)

Develop and implement initiatives that support student engagement and achievement

  • Focus on supporting student orientation programs and assess the sustainability of desired outcomes, including JumpStart programming (VPS, AVPS)
  • Expand the Vancouver campus international student transition program to provide a full year of academic support for new ISI students and measure the impact over the next 3 years (VPS)
  • The Okanagan campus supports International students with a year long jumpstart orientation program that engages students in off campus activities as a cohort to continue to build community throughout the year (AVPS)
  • Improve career development and service provision for graduate students, working in partnership with Deans and Associate Deans (VPS, AVPS, Provost Okanagan)
  • Strengthen partnerships within the student portfolios on both campuses to ensure synergies in programming (VPS,AVPS)
  • Support academic departments in the adoption of content and communication strategy through (VPS)
  • Build appropriate infrastructure ranging from student housing, academic space and teaching labs (VPA, VPF, Provost Okanagan, VPS, AVPS)
  • Use Vantage College as a Living Laboratory for innovative practices from recruitment and admission to teaching and experiential learning (VPA)
  • Continue support of the Okanagan campus’ English Foundation Program (Provost Okanagan)

Build and support a community of practice for advisors

  • During this past year the Student Recruitment and Advising unit developed a Strategic Plan in consultation with a variety of key stakeholders across both campuses of UBC to identify key strategies, associated recruitment tactics and metrics to gauge effectiveness (VPA, VPS, Provost Okanagan)
  • Review and enhance the current academic support services, including academic language support (VPS, VPA, Provost Okanagan)
  •  Improve student advising practices university wide in partnership with academic departments (VPS, VPA, Provost Okanagan, AVPS)
  • Support Academic advising conference bringing together over 350 colleagues for professional development (VPS)
  • Build a Vancouver campus wide professional development initiative for Student Advisors (VPA, VPS)

Goal Expand educational enrichment opportunities, including research, a first year small class experience, international learning, community service learning, and co-op/practicum/ internship opportunities

Portfolio Action

Provide undergraduate students with opportunities to pursue at least two enriched educational experiences during their course of studies

  • Review all student financial aid and award programs (VPS, VPF)
  • Expand upon access to, and delivery and assessment of enriched educational experiences by increasing opportunities for capstones, co-ops, international placements, undergraduate research; introducing interdisciplinary graduate problem-based learning pilot, etc (VPA, DVC, VPS, AVPS)
  • Assess impact of enriched educational experiences, and clarify faculty/departmental goals (VPS, VPA, AVPS)
  • Support the UBCV Senate in creating structures to expand undergraduate research opportunities (VPS, VPA)
  • Identify and coordinate opportunities to embed experiential learning into flexible Learning transformed courses (VPS, VPA, AVPS)
  • Support the multidisciplinary undergraduate research conference to support student engagement in research at the undergraduate level (VPS)

Goal Support student well-being, personal development and outstanding campus life

Portfolio Action

Continue the expansion of informal learning space and on-campus work opportunities, and implement collegia locations for students who commute

  • Implement Phase two of the Collegia pilot for new to UBC students at the Vancouver campus (VPS, VPF)
  • The work study program at the Okanagan campus has been significantly revised to support campus student work positions across faculties and departments and make more opportunities accessible to students. These are year-long positions that offer students opportunities to develop their personal and professional skills (AVPS).
  • Build out a project plan to facilitate an integrated and coordinated design of space and services for students and the UBC community, with programming to support well-being, experiential learning and student services (VPS)
  • Explore opportunities to deliver UBC student life program through redesign of Old Sub (VPS, VPF)

Support student-led initiatives to create a campus culture of involvement

  • Continue supporting student-led initiatives such as, the Tuum Est Student Initiative, which provides funds up to $3500 for each student initiative in the Okanagan (DVC, AVPS)
  • Develop and pilot a Vancouver campus Student Leadership Training Programme for all student led activities (VPS)
  • Launch Vancouver campus animation & public realm programming (VPS, VPF)
  • Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, in conjunction with Faculties, has developed new and improved student leadership programmes (VPS)
  • Encourage participation and enhance student leadership in competitive and recreational sports (VPS)
  • Create and facilitate structures for ongoing advising and support for student government organizations (VPS)

Increase support for student health and well-being, with a specific focus on mental health

  • Expand Early Alert program to include student participation (VPS, AVPS)
  • Support faculties and student leaders in assessing the impacts of academic policies and procedures on student mental health and well-being (VPS, VPA)
  • Enhanced supports for student mental health and wellbeing, through a new integrated service delivery model (VPS)
  • Wellbeing@UBC launched, to support ongoing strategic and integrative work on supporting student, staff and faculty wellbeing (VPS, VPHR, VPA, VPF, DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • An international charter for health promoting Universities and Colleges (the Okanagan Charter) was signed at the 2015 International Conference held at the Okanagan campus. The Okanagan Charter will be used to guide the development of our wellbeing@ubc initiative (VPS, VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan, AVPS).

Strengthen competitive sport at UBC Vancouver

  • New Strategic Framework for Varsity developed, approved by Board of Governors, which will inform the strategic direction for the Thunderbirds, and will be further developed and implemented by the Senior Athletic Director (VPS)
  • Improved student and community engagement through new approaches to sporting events to enhance campus culture and UBC pride (VPS)
  • Expand the opportunities for students to compete (VPS)
  • Play a leading role in the governance of inter-university sport in Canada at the Varsity level, maximising the national women’s hockey pilot opportunity (VPS)

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